Condé Nast is moving music publication Pitchfork under the GQ umbrella in a structural change announced Wednesday in a memo sent to staff, which was obtained by TheWrap.
“Today we are evolving our Pitchfork team structure by bringing the team into the GQ organization,” read the internal memo from Condé Nast’s chief content officer and global editorial director of Vogue Anna Wintour. “This decision was made after a careful evaluation of Pitchfork’s performance and what we believe is the best path forward for the brand so that our coverage of music can continue to thrive within the company.”
The memo continued, noting that with the structural changes to the organization, “some of our Pitchfork colleagues will be leaving the company today.”
Pitchfork staff will be hearing more details about their reporting structure in meetings that will take place this week.
“There are no additional changes at this time as we focus on our internal team structure and operations,” the memo concluded. “We will of course keep this team updated first when any new decisions are made about the transition.”
Shortly after the memo went out to staffers, many took to social media to express their frustration with the decision.
I've referred to my job at pitchfork as being on a ferris wheel at closing time, just waiting for them to yank me down. after nearly 8 yrs, mass layoffs got me. glad we could spend that time trying to make it a less dude-ish place just for GQ to end up at the helm
— Jill Mapes (@jillian_mapes) January 17, 2024
Absolutely insane. Anyone following cultural trends right now could tell you that we are like months away from a full-blown indie sleaze revival that Pitchfork could absolutely capitalize on and use to reinvent themselves in a huge brand for Gen Z. Ridiculous. https://t.co/ciNlzvJ7Yk
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) January 17, 2024
Absolute massacre at Pitchfork today, the entire staff deserved better than this considering the work they’ve put in with limited resources. Sad and dispiriting stuff to behold
— Larry Fitzmaurice (@lfitzmaurice) January 17, 2024
The move marks an end to Pitchfork’s eight-year run as Condé Nast’s premier music vertical after the company acquired the site in October 2015. And it extends a tumultuous period for much of the media industry as outlets downsize to combat volatility in advertising, after an already-brutal year of job cuts.
Broadcast, print and digital outlets collectively saw 2,681 journalism job cuts in the year, up 48% from 1,808 in 2022 and 77% from 1,511 in 2021, according to a report from employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
On Wednesday night, the Pitchfork Union and The NewsGuild of New York “categorically” condemned the announcement of both the layoffs and the merger.
“The reporters, editors, producers, researchers and all the people who make award-winning music journalism for Pitchfork, deserve better than to be treated like disposable parts,” the president of the NewsGuild Susan DeCarava said in a statement. “We will continue to hold Condé Nast accountable and to fight for the recognition and compensation our members have earned, as we explore all possible options to support those affected.”
“Condé Nast provided no further information about the future of the premier music publication, demonstrating once again a lack of regard for the workers who have contributed to the company’s success,” the union said in a statement.